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Form: Rockfeedback and One Inch Badge merge

Leading independent UK promoters Rockfeedback and One Inch Badge have announced their merger, creating a new joint venture, Form, with backing from Kilimanjaro Live.

The combined company will produce and promote more than 600 shows across the UK annually. The Rockfeedback (RFB) and One Inch Badge (OIB) brands will continue in their home markets of London and Brighton, respectively, while shows outside those cities will be branded Form Presents.

Kilimanjaro Live – a national promoter majority owned by Germany’s DEAG – joins as a third partner, lending its administrative and infrastructural support while remaining a separate entity.

Form’s combined live roster includes the likes of Flume, Father John Misty, the War on Drugs, Kate Tempest, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Bonobo, Johnny Flynn, Fontaines DC, Future Islands, Marika Hackman, Dream Wife and Kurt Vile, while OIB and RFB will continue to collaborate on non-music events and programming for brand clients. (Previous co-productions include book launches and comedy events for Akala, Neil Tennant, Beastie Boys and Kim Gordon and ‘in conversation’ events with Jon Ronson and Making a Murderer.)

“Following on from years of successful collaboration with Alex and all at OIB, we’re delighted to have found a great, natural way to bring our brands together, while creating something that feels new and different,” say RFB directors Dan Monsell and Toby L in a joint statement.

“We’re hugely excited about looking to further enhance the way we work with fantastic performers and servicing their fans as best as possible, for what we believe to be the next generation of classic and vital acts.”

“Following on from years of successful collaboration … we’re delighted to have found a great, natural way to bring our brands together”

Kilimanjaro director Steve Tilley tells IQ the company has taken a stake in Form, and will act as an advisory to the business, lending its support and experience as the new entity grows.

“There’s quite a lot of synergy for Kilimanjaro, as we’re very conscious of the independent promoters,” Tilley explains. “We’re here to help grow what RFB and OIB have done up to this point – and the FORM set-up scales that up really nicely. We’re very excited to be involved.’’

“We’re delighted to launch Form, a new live music and multi-disciplinary arts company that strives to set the path for a more considered and progressive touring opportunity through innovation, curation and new media marketing,” comments OIB director Alex Murray.

“After a decade working as a proudly independent company One Inch Badge are excited to be part of Form with long-term friends and collaborators, Rockfeedback and Kilimanjaro.”

“I’ve known Dan, Alex and Toby for several years and when they first raised the idea of joining forces and inviting Kilimanjaro to become part of their long-term plan, it was a complete no-brainer to me,” adds Tilley. “Dan, Toby and Alex are brilliant, creative and entrepreneurial promoters and Kilimanjaro is very excited to help them build and grow their business and careers.”


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TGE 2020 adds more acts ahead of live launch

Fourteen more acts have been added to the Great Escape 2020 line-up, ahead of the showcase festival’s ‘First Fifty’ live launch in London this week.

A total of 50 artists are now on the bill for 2020 event, which will host over 450 acts in total across more than 30 venues.

Newly announced acts include GoGo Penguin, Velvet Negroni, Larry Pink The Human and Evie Irie, joining previously confirmed artists such as Master Peace, Do Nothing, House of Pharaohs and Sons of Raphael.

Many of the TGE 2020 acts are performing tonight (Wednesday 13 November) and tomorrow in ‘First Fifty’ gigs at six venues in East London: Sebright Arms (150-cap.), the Old Blue Last (60-cap.), Colours (300-cap.), the Courtyard Theatre (150-cap.), the Macbeth (300-cap.) and the Curtain – LP Room (160-cap.).

A full list of concerts can be found here, with tickets available for £5 each.

The 15th edition of the Great Escape takes place from 13 to 16 May in Brighton, UK, with South Korea as lead country partner and core conference topics of education, media and global markets. Delegate passes are available here.


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The Great Escape unveils 2020 conference details

Showcase festival and convention the Great Escape (TGE) has announced that music education, music media and global markets will form the key themes of its 2020 conference in Brighton, UK.

TGE 2020 will take place from 13 to 16 May in venues across the seaside city of Brighton, with the conference hub located at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfront hotel.

The music education conference will take place on the first day of the 2020 event, with music educators and employers coming together to discuss how music education, the music industry and the music community can better support early-career artists and musicians.

Day two will see the music media conference, which will put the spotlight on how consumers interact with media and influencers. Alongside the sessions will explore who is influencing artists’ fanbases, aside from the music press and radio, exploring options such as social media, playlists, gaming platforms and podcasters.

Finally, the global markets conference will provide an overview of the major trends, developments, challenges and opportunities in each key music market, identifying the strongest revenue streams, services, social media and genres in each region. The conference will also highlight emerging markets including India, China, Brazil, Nigeria and South Korea.

Organisers of the event also confirmed South Korea as lead country partner, following Australia last year and the Netherlands in 2018. Brighton-based charity Grassroots Suicide Prevention is the event’s named charity partner.

“The impact Korean artists are having within the music industry today is very exciting”

Alternative K-pop band Balming Tiger will perform at TGE 2020’s showcase festival, alongside Sons of Raphael, Lazarus Kane and Boy Scouts. More acts are to be confirmed in the run up to the festival.

Last year’s festival saw performances from Lewis Capaldi, Foals, Shame, Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes, Friendly Fires and more.

“We are very excited to be back for another year bringing together top industry professionals and creative minds under one roof,” comments Rory Bett, CEO of TGE promoter MAMA Festivals.

“The impact Korean artists are having within the music industry today is very exciting and it’s important for The Great Escape to put the spotlight on and to celebrate that fact.”

A spokesperson for the music industry team at the Korea Creative Content Agency, Kocca, says it is an “honour” to team up with TGE.

“It will be our fourth year working with the festival and to be named lead country partner for 2020 is a great privilege. It is a very exciting time for the Korean music market and we are looking forward to bringing our new wave of artists to the Brighton shoreline next year.”

Early bird delegate passes for TGE 2020 are available here, priced at £180.


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Biggest music line-up ever for Pride events

As London gears up for its Pride parade this Saturday (6 July), live music is playing an increasingly important part in Pride events across the globe, with artists are doing their bit to further equality.

The London event, featuring performances from Billy Porter and X Factor star Saara Aalto, marks the end of Pride month, a worldwide celebration of the LGBT+ community and of that community’s movement for equality.

In June, Pride parades and festivals took place in cities including Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Sydney, with more scheduled throughout the UK and Europe over the coming months.

Pride events in New York saw performances from Madonna, Lady Gaga, Lizzo and Alicia Keys. In Los Angeles Meghan Trainor, Years and Years, Cristian Castro and the Veronicas featured on the Pride festival line-up.

Across the Atlantic, “LGBT+ icon” Kylie Minogue will headline Brighton’s Pride in the Park on Saturday 3 August, fresh from her appearance at Glastonbury Festival. Joining Kylie at the event will be Grace Jones, Jessie J and Clean Bandit.

Manchester is putting on arguably one of the biggest live music events of the Pride calendar, taking over Broadwick Venue’s Mayfield Depot (10,000-cap.) for a ticketed, two-day music event, Manchester Pride Live.

Organisers “expect to see record attendance” as acts such as Ariana Grande, Cheryl and Basement Jaxx prepare to grace the stage.

“Celebrating LGBT+ life means a great deal to each of the artists performing at the festival this year,” Manchester Pride chief executive Mark Fletcher tells IQ.

“Celebrating LGBT+ life means a great deal to each of the artists performing at the festival this year”

“We work closely with agents and management to ensure that all artists are clear on the importance of Pride celebrations and this year we’ve actually received more requests than ever from artists who want to come along to perform at the festival to show their support for the campaign for greater LGBT+ equality.”

The choice of heterosexual Grande as the Manchester Pride Live headliner sparked complaints from some members of the LGBT+ community, according to Variety, as did the selection of non-LGTB+ artists at other Pride events.

However, the Manchester Pride boss states the event always aims “to ensure there is clear representation from LGBT+ artists on the line-up” and stresses that the appearance of any high-profile artists “is very important to our audience”.

“Whether they are LGBT+ or allies, the message that is displayed through the appearance of high-profile artists is clear for the world to see: We stand as one to tackle the inequalities and discrimination that is still faced by LGBT+ people today,” comments Fletcher.

“Music and performance represent freedom and happiness which both play a huge part in what we stand for,” adds Fletcher. “Music is at the heart of our Pride celebrations in Manchester and the music we showcase helps to create a vibrant atmosphere of unity.”

Manchester Pride Live weekend tickets are priced at £64.50 plus booking fees and are available here.


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Lewis Capaldi, Foals: the best of TGE 2019

Over 580 artists played 780 shows in Brighton as part of the Great Escape (TGE) from Wednesday 8 to Saturday 11 May, as 20,000 festival fans and music industry representatives attended venues across the seaside city.

The festival was also used as a platform for announcements from organisations including the Music Venue Trust (MVT), Music Managers Forum (MMF) and Attitude is Everything (AIE).

Foals made a return to TGE after 12 years away, playing a sold out spotlight show on Friday at the 500-capacity Concorde 2. The performance celebrated the 15th anniversary of independent, London-based record label Transgressive Records.

Lewis Capaldi, who recently sold out a UK arena tour in minutes prior to his debut album release, was another spotlight show artist, performing at the Brighton Dome (1,860).

South London post-punk band Shame came as a last minute announcement for the headline slot at the Fender Next Stage on Thursday night. Frank Carter and the Rattlesnakes headed up the stage the following evening and Friendly Fires played a show on Brighton beach.

Over 580 artists played 780 shows in Brighton as part of the Great Escape

Other surprise performances across the festival came from singer-songwriter James Bay and Brighton-based artist Yonaka.

The festival closed with performances from Brisbane’s Emerson Snowe, European Talent Exchange Programme (ETEP) forerunner Black Midi and Brit-nominated singer-songwriter Anna Calvi.

Elsewhere, there was good news for grassroots music venues, as music charity MVT announced funding breakthroughs including a £1.5 million grassroots live music fund from the Arts Council England and several industry-led initiatives.

At the TGE conference, fellow music charity AIE revealed survey findings highlighting problems with accessibility for deaf or disabled artists and MMF debuted its new song royalties guide.

This year’s conference programme focused on music education, streaming and marketing.

Early bird delegate passes for next year’s TGE are now on sale.


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TGE announces initial speakers and more for 2019

The Great Escape (TGE) has announced details regarding this year’s conference programme, including initial speakers, daily itineraries and music industry partners. The event will take place from 8 to 11 May in Brighton, UK.

Speakers will share insights, case studies and opinions related to the festival’s three key themes for 2019: music education, digital dollars and music marketing. The first 40 speakers include Virgin EMI Records’ Andy Knox, Insanity Group founder and chief executive Andy Varley, Fuga founder Dorothee Imhoff, Live Nation’s Jackie Wilgar and Warner Music’s Tim Fraser-Harding.

CMU Insights will launch three pieces of original research during TGE, including the first report from the ‘Redefining Music Education’ project, a ‘Song Royalties Guide’ explaining how artists are paid by streaming platforms and ‘Rethinking Music Marketing’, a new report examining the evolution of music marketing companies in the streaming era.

Speakers will share insights related to three key themes: music education, digital dollars and music marketing

At the heart of the conference are three full-day strands, each one focused on a different key theme and ending with a one-on-one interview. TGE has announced that Cassandra Gracey, president of Sony Music’s 4th Floor Creative division, will conclude the strand on music marketing.

TGE have confirmed 68 music industry partners, including BBC Music, AIM, The Box Fresh Network, Clash and Dork. Two of the partners, Believe and Julie’s Bicycle, have teamed up with TGE to stage a charity bike ride from London to Brighton this year.

The bike ride will raise money for London-based NGO Julie’s Bicycle, empowering the creative community to take action on climate change and environmental sustainability. The money raised will go towards their Green Rider initiative; a campaign that helps touring artists to work alongside venues, festivals, labels and promoters to become more sustainable.

All 2019 core conference sessions and networking events will take place at TGE’s new home at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfromt, the official delegate portal and hotel. Early bird delegate passes are now available, along with hotel packages and conference only options.


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TGE reveals conference themes for 2019

Following last week’s First Fifty artist announcement, the Great Escape (TGE) has announced the key themes for the 2019 conference, which takes place in Brighton, UK, from 8 to 11 May.

Australia has also been announced as lead country partner for the event, following the Netherlands this year and Switzerland in 2017.

The 2019 themes, with descriptions courtesy of TGE,  are:

Initial speakers will be announced in early 2019.

Rory Betts, CEO of organiser MAMA Festivals, comments: “We’re really proud to have a truly distinct conference programme at the Great Escape by ensuring that we have the time to dig deep into the key issues and trends of the day. When we put the focus on education in 2018, it really felt like we started a movement to more closely align music education with the music industry, so it’s great to be able to further that debate in 2019.

Meanwhile, I think we can all agree that for new artists, the big two challenges are getting noticed and getting paid – two things that will be at the fore with our full-day conferences on digital dollars and music marketing.”

All 2019 core conference sessions and networking events will take place at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfront, the official delegate portal and hotel. Delegates passes are on sale now.


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ACE salaries up 13% as another UK venue goes under

Pay and pension packages for the seven most senior executives at Arts Council England (ACE) totalled nearly £1m last year, its latest annual report reveals, as the organisation faces fresh questions over the lack of funding available for grassroots music venues.

ACE’s chief executive, Darren Henley, and deputy chief executives, Simon Mellor and Laura Dyer, along with executive director/CFO Elizabeth Bushell, COO Richard Russell, executive director, public policy and communication, Mags Patten, and executive director, enterprise and innovation, Francis Runacres, were paid £983,000 in the year ending 31 March 2018, according to ACE’s 2017/18 annual report and accounts.

That represents a 13% increase, or £111,000, on 2016/17, according to Arts Professional. Average pay for staff other than executive directors rose by 4.1%, from £36,300 to £37,800.

News of the ACE salary increases, which were signed off by the Arts Council’s remuneration committee, comes amid the closure of yet another small venue, the 200-capacity Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar in Brighton.

A favourite of Great Escape delegates, Sticky Mike’s is a “Brighton institution” and “one of the most vibrant, community-based grassroots spaces in the whole country”, says venues association Music Venue Trust (MVT), which broke the news this morning.

“You don’t need us to tell you that venues like Sticky Mike’s can be saved for a lot less than £983,000”

“It’s also a perfect summary of where many venue operators/owners find themselves,” reads the MVT statement. “Rent, rates, costs too high, profit margins non-existent, a new development coming at them which inevitably means noise challenges, a decaying infrastructure it’s too expensive to maintain, licensing conditions which cut into business… it’s a mess, and not of their own making.

“Frankly, the team at Sticky Mike’s should get a medal for keeping it going this long. Every venue team you know is fighting these battles. We should erect statues to the lot of them.”

Sticky Mike’s will close on 31 December 2018.

IQ revealed in August that of the £1.6bn of public money that makes up ACE’s national portfolio funding for 2018–2022, just 0.06% is allocated to popular music venues.

The only two venues with contemporary music as their main programming being funded by ACE in 2018–22 are Band on the Wall (340-cap.) in Manchester and Café Oto (200-cap.) in London, both of which also received National Portfolio funding in 2015–18. Half the entire 2018–22 contemporary music budget – £14m, or £9,622 per day – was awarded to one venue: Sage Gateshead, a mixed contemporary/classical music venue and centre for music education in the north-east of England, operated by the charity North Music Trust.

“Frankly, the team at Sticky Mike’s should get a medal for keeping it going this long”

According to MVT, Sticky Mike’s could have been saved for the price of just two days’ worth of the grant given to the Royal Opera House annually.

Or, to put it another way, a lot less than the pay rise ACE awarded its own execs, MVT’s Mark Davyd tells IQ. “The pay and pension packages for the seven most senior executives at Arts Council England increased by 13% last year, by £111,000 to a total of £983,000. You don’t need us to tell you that venues like Sticky Mike’s can be saved for a lot less than £983,000. They can be saved for less than £111,000,” comments Davyd.

“This has nothing to do with whether money is available to stop the loss of culturally important, vital, community spaces like Sticky Mike’s – and everything to do with priorities, a willingness to act and a sense of urgency.”

Responding, an ACE spokesperson says: “We restructured our leadership team, meaning some staff were promoted in 2016 and received pay rises in line with their new responsibilities. Their annual pay increase was 1%. Overall, this new structure saved the Arts Council £18,000 per year. Projects helping with people’s health and wellbeing, and rehabilitation from prison, have become an increasingly important priority for us, as has our work around digital, so we’ve invested in senior leadership for these programmes so they help more people. 

“We recognise that the senior leadership team is well paid, but they are fairly rewarded in line with their level of responsibility, and in keeping with other senior public-sector salaries. Over the next four years we’ll invest at least over £100m in music – more than ever before.”


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IQ’s five live picks of The Great Escape 2017

The Great Escape (TGE), MAMA Festivals’ long-running Brighton showcase festival and industry conference, returns for its 12th outing today, welcoming more than 3,500 industry delegates to the English seaside resort for three days of networking and new music.

The first panel discussion – Drugs: A Recent History of Getting High, looking at drug-taking trends at festivals, shows and in clubs – kicks off at 10.45 in the Dukes at Komedia cinema; in the meantime, here are IQ’s picks of the must-attend TGE shows, panels and parties…

Brighton rocks
Stripped of the panels, parties and spotlight shows by established artists, The Great Escape is still, at its core, a festival for new music: a place for bookers, A&Rs and everyone in between to discover the festival headliners of the future.

However, with more than 450 acts playing across 30+ Brighton venues, it’s nigh-on impossible to see everything, but by crunching the numbers – specifically Facebook likes, Shazam discoveries, Spotify streams and Songkick charts – we’ve discovered the three acts creating the most buzz are:

Drugs and royalties and Brexit, oh my!
Provided they’re not already all Eurosonic/FastForward/ILMC-ed out, TGE delegates are likely going to want to sit in on at least a few panels. While discussions about the state of music journalism may be of limited interest to IQ readers, the other three conference strands – which focus on drugs, royalties/collective licensing and music export – all touch on some of the most pressing issues affecting the international live business.

Highlights include Drugs, Clubs & Music: How to Actually Save Lives (11.15am, Thursday 18 May), which sees Fabric’s Andy Blackett, The Warehouse Project’s Sacha Lord and campaigner Nathalie Wainwright tackle the thorny issue of keeping patrons safe while keeping local authorities on side; Getting the Most from Showcase Festivals (moderated by IQ’s own Gordon Masson) and A Beginners’ Guide to Brexit; and Direct Licensing in Live, exploring the rise of directly licensing performance royalties with Maria Forte and PACE’s Adam Elfin.

A hole lot of Switzerland
As previously reported, Switzerland is TGE’s country partner for 2017 – and that means Swiss Swiss Music Export will be taking to Brighton a whole host of Swiss delicacies, including showcases, networking and – of course – plenty of cheese.

Swiss acts performing across on Friday include Zeal & Ardor, Sophie Hunger, Buvette, Debrah Scarlett and Baba Shrimps (the Zurich three-piece last seen at ILMC’s Swiss Session in March), while plenty of Helvetic networking can be had at the delegate reception at 5pm on Thursday (Swiss wine, beer and raclette!) and the Swiss Festivals Drink Reception at the same time on Friday.

For a taste of what to expect, a Spotify playlist of all Swiss performers is below:

Extra-curricular activities
As is tradition, most of the big agencies, promoters, ticketers and the like at TGE will be hosting their own (private) dos, but there are also plenty of open-invitation parties well worth checking out.

The always-fun Dutch Impact party (12–4pm on Friday) is open to all delegates, as is Wide Days’ Scottish Networking Party (who could say no to “deep-fried confectionary, soft drinks made from girders and whisky in a smugglers’ cellar”?) and Berklee and Ascap’s networking brunch. The annual Drinks Party hosted by UK collection societies PPL and PRS also returns – it’s first-come, first-served, so get there early – while recording studio Metropolis is staging a one-hour ‘Metropolis Mixer’ at My Hotel at 1pm on Friday.

Intelligent networking
And as always, Team IQ will be out in force on Thursday and Friday. Want to set up a meeting or a casual pint? Drop us an email!

See you in Brighton…


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TGE Convention reveals 2017 themes

UK showcase festival The Great Escape has announced the first details of its convention programme for 2017.

Taking place over two venues in Brighton over two days, the convention – held in association with CMU Insights – will be divided into four themes, as follows:

The Media Conference – The crisis in music journalism
Is it still possible to make money out of music media in the digital age? Will music journalism be the preserve of brands in the future? And is music radio ready for its impending collision with the streaming platforms?

The Drugs Conference – Let’s actually save some lives
Can artists embrace the sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle without damaging their career and their health? And, following the battle for Fabric, what can and what should clubs, promoters, law enforcement and licensing officials be doing to prevent drugs deaths at live music events?

The Export Conference – Breaking out beyond Brexit
A guide to taking new artists global in 2017 featuring tips on going global, acts who have benefited from the Music Export Growth Scheme. Plus, how will Brexit impact music in Europe? Presented in partnership with BPI.

The Royalties Conference – Where’s my fucking money?
Tracking the money from sale, sync and stream to artist and songwriter. How does collective licensing work worldwide? Why are some artists licensing direct? And where is all of that Spotify money going?

The Great Escape 2017 runs from 18 to 20 May. The first fifty acts for its music programme were announced in September.


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